Ben Carson Is the Latest Top Trump Administration Official to Test Positive for COVID

Carson, a doctor and the secretary of housing and urban development, tested positive on Monday after attending the election-night watch party at the White House last week

Ben Carson
Ben Carson. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on Monday, PEOPLE confirms.

The diagnosis comes after Carson, 69, attended the election-night watch party at the White House last week, according to the Associated Press. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows was also in attendance and has since tested positive.

A White House spokesman tells PEOPLE that the necessary contact tracing was underway.

"Any positive case is taken seriously. Contact tracing has been conducted by the White House Medical Unit consistent with CDC guidelines to stop further transmission," the spokesman maintained. "Appropriate notifications and recommendations have been made."

The administration has previously faced scrutiny for holding large-scale, mostly maskless events where people are indoors and in close physical proximity while talking. Public health experts have encouraged masks and social distancing of large groups to avoid coronavirus infections.

ABC's Katherine Faulders reported that Carson's chief of staff, Andrew Hughes, said the HUD Secretary was in "good spirits."

"He is resting at his house & is already beginning to feel better. Anyone who was in contact with the Secretary last week is being notified & all precautions are being taken," Hughes told Faulders, adding that Carson is "in good spirits and feels fortunate to have access to effective therapeutics which aid and markedly speed his recovery."

Carson, a former surgeon, told The Washington Post that on Sunday he had a fever as well as chills, cramping and "respiratory issues and fatigue."

According to the Post, some attendees at the election-night party said they had not been notified as part of any contact tracing, disputing the White House statement otherwise.

Carson said in his Post interview that he was infected "probably somewhere out there in the universe.”

“I was on a bus tour last week,” he said. "I was at the White House on election night, so there are multiple possibilities.”

Prior to attending Tuesday night's election festivities, Carson was spotted mask-less at a Trump campaign rally in Waterford Township, Michigan on Oct. 30, according to CNN.

Carson's diagnosis comes days after reports came out that Meadows, 61, and at least four other White House officials tested positive for the virus last week, including one of Meadows’ aides, Cassidy Hutchinson, and senior Trump campaign aide, Nick Trainer, according to Bloomberg.

Sources told CNN that Meadows — who has yet to issue a public statement regarding his diagnosis — began informing people that he had tested positive on Wednesday, after attending President Donald Trump's speech and election-night party at the White House on Tuesday. It is unclear when he officially tested positive.

Still, The Los Angeles Times reported that many White House and campaign officials who attended the party were not informed about the diagnoses, finding out that they had been exposed when the media did.

Mark Meadows
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Patrick Semansky/AP/Shutterstock

Meadows also traveled with Trump on Sunday and Monday, joining the president on Air Force One, according to CNN.

In total, more than three dozen people associated with Trump and his administration have been infected with the virus since the onset of the pandemic, Bloomberg reported. Trump, as well as First Lady Melania Trump and their teen son, Barron, all tested positive for the virus last month.

On Sunday, the U.S reported 103,657 new cases of the coronavirus and at least 464 deaths. As of Monday morning, more than 10,060,700 people in the U.S. have been infected and at least 238,000 have died, according to a New York Times database.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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